After a day and a half of bus and plane travel from Chiang Rai, North Thailand, and not enough sleep, I finally arrived on the shores of Sihanoukville, greeted by a smiling and welcoming Cambodian girl, Emily, tending to the open air beach bar and late night arrivals such as myself.
As a solo traveler, few things are quite so nice as to be made to feel welcomed and treated kindly. It immediately expands your heart to want to dispense cheer and multiple hugs all around.
After a quick perusal of my rather primitive beach side bungalow, I made quick work of taking over a lounge chair, downing a fresh coconut spiked with a bit of rum, and listening to the ocean sloshing against the sand just feet away, a feeling of peace simultaneously sloshing its own way through me.
I’ll admit that I do (and did that night) have a bit of distress over a shared communal, somewhat rugged bathroom. I am NOT into the whole hostel traveling style anymore… I’ll leave that for the fresh baby-faced 18-22 year olds who don’t mind partying till the wee hours of the night and crashing on a bunk with 12 other like minded travelers…. Me – i must be getting old and spoiled. I like privacy at a night, nice soft bed, white noise, peace and quiet and early dinners:) So, I googled a lovely little resort right down the beach from me..and that is how I ended up at Elephant Garden Resort – a place that kept playing into my life over the next couple weeks.
I just loved the crystal clear aqua water. As much as I adore living on the West coast in America, it just doesn’t have this kind of warm loveliness. I floated and swam and basked in the sun, read my books, walked down the beach, ate hot curry food, chatted up the staff, and got massaged. Oh wait… before the massage came the torture. I somehow let myself get talked into getting my legs “threaded” … for anyone unfamiliar with this its like waxing on steroids. Instead of one great rrrrippp of sudden and dissipating pain, the pain of threading and infinite hair removal goes on and on and on in micro, acute, repetitive, relentless yanks. Between gritted teeth and a bit of gasping , I said, “I though you said this wouldn’t hurt!!” met by giggles and pithy unhelpful comebacks of “No pain, no gain..” I writhed a bit more and retorted that that wasn’t helping. In broken English…”oooohhh.. it no hurt the second time. You have lot of hair.” More pain. “You let me do arms? [yeah right…are your f—in kidding me?!] “Open your heart, open your wallet. [more giggles]” I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Followed quickly by a grimace and yelp. In the clutches of my threader, I could hardly fend off the other vultures vendors, plying their wares. Gamely trying to eat my mango salad and ignore the torture, I feebly picked out a couple bracelets from this sweet girl who seemed quite content to keep me company and amused by my lack of fortitude, offered her own unhelpful platitudes. So glad this white pain-intolerant American could provide a bit of entertainment…
And while my legs did not emerge “soft as a baby’s butt”, nor hair free for a month as promised, it was lovely to not have to worry about shaving for a while. ( though the bohemian look is not uncommon in the backpackers world, I haven’t ventured too far down that path…).
Having downed a couple ginger martinis in front of a lovely sunset, I fell asleep to the sound of beach music, excited and nervous about my new venture into diving (whoop!whoop!) over the next few days.